Shared Risk Factors for Cardiovascular Disease and Cancer: Implications for Preventive Health and Clinical Care in Oncology Patients

Can J Cardiol. 2016 Jul;32(7):900-7. doi: 10.1016/j.cjca.2016.04.008. Epub 2016 Apr 23.


The cardiovascular toxicity of cancer therapy has raised awareness of the importance of heart disease in cancer care among oncologists and cardiologists, leading to the new interdisciplinary field of cardio-oncology. Evidence is accumulating to suggest that risk factors associated with cardiovascular disease are also related to an increased incidence of cancer and excess cancer mortality. We review the epidemiologic evidence that smoking, obesity, poor diet, and inactivity can cause both heart disease and cancer. The importance of cardiovascular disease and cardiovascular risk factors in adversely affecting oncological outcomes and leading to increased cancer mortality is discussed. Cardiotoxicity prediction tools that incorporate cardiac disease and risk factors are described. Raising awareness about shared risk factors for cancer and heart disease may result in more effective advocacy to promote healthy lifestyle changes through the combined efforts of the historically separate specialties of cardiology and oncology.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents / adverse effects
  • Cardiotoxicity / prevention & control
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / etiology*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Diet
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Neoplasms / therapy
  • Obesity / complications
  • Radiotherapy / adverse effects
  • Risk Factors
  • Sedentary Behavior
  • Smoking / adverse effects


  • Antineoplastic Agents